Author, alum Marissa Meyer talks ‘Sailor Moon’ and ‘Cinder’

Posted on May 4 2014 - 1:14pm by Guest Writer

By Carrie Reierson, Guest Writer

It is not often that “Sailor Moon” fan fiction is tied to fame and success, but it is for Marissa Meyer, Pacific Lutheran University alumna and author of the “Lunar Chronicles” series.

Class of 2007 alum Marissa Meyer wrote the popular “Lunar Chronicles” book series, shown here on sale at Garfield Book Company, after having a dream about a cyborg Cinderella. Meyer returned to campus April 24 to give a talk on her journey as a writer and her path to success. Photo by Jesse Major.

Class of 2007 alum Marissa Meyer wrote the popular “Lunar Chronicles” book series, shown here on sale at Garfield Book Company, after having a dream about a cyborg Cinderella. Meyer returned to campus April 24 to give a talk on her journey as a writer and her path to success. Photo by Jesse Major.

Meyer, who graduated from PLU in 2007 with a degree in creative writing and children’s literature, came back to campus April 24 to talk with students about the process of becoming a nationally recognized author.

Her four-book series turns fairy tales on their head, giving them a futuristic twist. She swaps out Cinderella for a cyborg and Rapunzel’s tower for a satellite.

Meyer said her obsession with fairy tales started when she watched Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at age five. Her love of fairy tales also inspired her to attend PLU when the promise of a literature class on fairy tales and fantasy proved too tempting to pass up.

Former professor of English David Seal, who taught the fairy tales course at PLU, said Meyers was “pretty quiet. This was not a teacher’s pet, not a departmental darling. This was a woman hiding in plain sight.”

Meyer’s creative history started in high school, when she began writing fan fiction about one of her favorite shows, “Sailor Moon.” One online prompt for a contest asked her to write a story featuring a fairy tale character in a futuristic setting.

She ran with this idea, and credits it for inspiring the cyborg Cinderella star of the “Lunar Chronicles” series. She said the specific idea for “Cinder” came to her in a dream.

“One night, I had a dream about Cinderella. She tripped on the palace steps, but instead of her glass slipper falling off, her whole foot fell off. When I woke up, I thought to myself, ‘her foot fell off because she’s a cyborg,’” Meyer said. “For the first time I felt like I had landed on something that I had to write.”

And so she wrote. In November 2008, Meyer participated in National Novel Writing Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. She ended up writing 150,011 words.

She wrote at four in the morning, on the bus and on evenings and weekends. At the time, she was working full time as an editor and taking two classes for her master’s degree in publishing.

Two years later, after revising the draft she wrote in 2008, she had an offer from a publisher. Now, Meyer lives in Tacoma and writes full time.

After Meyer’s talk, senior Aaron Bizier said, “I think it’s really cool that you can be from a small liberal arts university in the middle of the Pacific Northwest and achieve your dreams, become a published writer.”

Seal addressed the attending students in his introduction of Meyer by saying, “If there are any of you here who don’t think you can make a national impression because you come from this little college in Tacoma, you’re dead wrong.”

Meyer’s success story drove that point home.